Tuesday, July 27, 2010

US Open + Craigslist + PR Company = Idiocy

Craigslist and the idiocy of what must be an intern at a PR company in NYC strikes again!

Let's parse this ad (red text is my commentary):

Photographer Needed for High Profile Client (Idianapolis) (in other words, we're willing to risk a high profile client's happiness for a few thousand dollars in photographer fees we'd rather not pay, even though our account executives bill out at $300 or so an hour)

New York City based Public Relations Company (a company paying hundreds of dollars per square foot and probably $40-$60k to a junior account executive) is seeking a photographer for a small photo shoot (hmm, portrait? lights? catering? Studio rental? Pro gear?) with a well known professional tennis player (yes, we're willing to risk the free photographer being inappropriate on set, having non-pro gear that might break down with no backup gear, on a well known professional athlete, oh, and let's hope that the free photographer actually turns up since they may not have enough subway tokens to get to the shoot!). Great way to add photos to your portfolio and work with a great company. (Also a mindset that is sure to build up a clientele looking for you to always shoot for free, and if it's such a great company, why don't they have even a reasonable amount of money to pay for a pro shoot?) Photos will be used in a marketing campaign geared towards the US Open. (Yes, photos could end up on Times Square Billboards, US Open program ads, and murals around the venue, not to mention ads in the newspaper, but you won't get paid while they potentially pay tens-of-thousands to reproduce your great photography.)

Although there isn't financial compensation for this project (for you, the photographer. The account executive will get paid, the studio you have to rent will get paid, the car service that brings the pro athlete will get paid, the cell phone bill that the account exec has for all the calls related to the shoot will get paid, the athlete will benefit and may even get paid an appearance fee if the marketing isn't for the athlete, but some apparel company, but you, the creative talent behind the photo - to paraphrase the Soup Nazi - "no money for you!"), full credit is given (what? In 6-point type in the gutter? In 24 point bold text at the bottom of the ads? How do you define "full"? What will be the ramifications if you don't give credit? What if it's a hand-out photo for PR and the newspaper that agrees to run the photo has a policy of not crediting hand-outs, or they forget?) as well as opportunity for future work with a magazine (right - future FREE work, because they already know you'll work for free). We will work to create a great credit package for the right photographer! (nice - you, the account exec, billed $150 for the time necessary to create this craigslist ad, and you'll spend another few hours culling through the idiots that respond to this ad, and then, you'll give the photographer total freedom to realize their creative ideas and genius!)

Please email us for details ASAP, as this project would be taking place with-in the next few days. (translation - we weren't thinking and this is just some stupid idea we hatched and it may not even go ahead, but if we can get someone for free while our athlete is on layover in Indianopolis for a few hours, we'll get a freebie shoot out of it. What's the worst that can happen? The photos suck and we didn't pay anything, and we didn't PROMISE the photos would be used.)

Below is the actual ad, and the link to the ad if you want to write them. It might be interesting for someone to find out the PR firm's name and get in touch with the head of that office to let them know how their junior staff are coming up with hair-brained ideas like this putting their celebrity clients at risk with you-get-what-you-pay-for caliber photographers....

(Continued after the Jump)


Photographer Needed for High Profile Client (Idianapolis)



Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any 'photographer' who does this job (for free) is putting another nail in the coffin of ALL photographers. Wouldn't it be great if photographers everywhere had enough sense to recognize this sort of rubbish is part of a sustained attack on the profession. Anyone responding to this add hastens the day when there will be no such thing as a professional photographer!

Rick Lewis said...

This really is hard to believe. Would a reputable PR company really do this?

I hope they get the soccer mom they deserve.

Rick

Matthew said...

That's funny--I think I saw a post on Craigslist the other day looking for an up-and-coming PR firm to put together a major promo piece for the US Open. No financial compensation, but they get full credit. Great way to build a portfolio. ;)

Paul Davis said...

But what happens if they do "hire" the soccer mom and the images she produces with her £500 camera (with kit lens and no backup) are perfect and just what they need ?

I agree there are nails and coffins involved but I'm not sure who bought the nails to the party and who is swinging the hammer

Nathan said...

All kinds of responses go through my head, this is just ridiculously risky and unbecoming of an anywhere half way decent PR company. Please please let this be the work the work of an employee's 16 year old child "helping out" in the office during the Summer break.

Im tempted to say "I wish a pro would shoot the job and hold out on the images, hey it never said in the contract (non existent I bet) that I was actually going to let you use the images." but even that is idiotic and childish.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me. I got a call a few weeks prior to the US Open golf tournament from a New York based book publisher and a sponsor of the USGA to see if they could use a couple of dozen images of mine for a book. I quoted them a price to which they responded they were hoping to get them for free.

But they offered to give me a copy of the book !

Anonymous said...

The genius behind this is Blake Harvey of the Lawrence Blake marketing firm. His cell is 646-306-9898 and his email is bharvey@lawrenceblake.com He wants you to shoot tennis "star" (#91 in the world) Rajeev Ram for free so he can use the images in his start up magazine Raw House. Drop him an email and let him know what you think of his plan.

Downtown Indy said...

Who did the last free shoot for you and why aren't you using them again this time, too?

(Maybe the full credit was so 'full' that SI snatched them up immediately after seeing it?)

george said...

and this "junior account executive" can't even spell Indianapolis - twice - some major PR firm........

Rick Blaine said...

Regardless, I can hear 3000 or more voices screaming. "Pick me, please pick me! I'll do a really good job. I just got a used Rebel an 18-55 lens. I'm a pro now!!!!!"

Anonymous said...

I think you upset them John! They pulled the ad :)

Virginia Photographer said...

We're all doomed! DOOOOOMMMED I tell ya!!


The classified section and Monster.com looks all the more appealing these days.

I'd pay to find out...
1. What happened in the end.
2. Who applied - (An extra shilling to see their portfolio)
3. Who got fired for this ass backwards scheme.
4. What Andy Rodderick/Venus Williams thought when they guy whipped out the Rebel XTi with 28-70 5.6-8.6 zoom and held it at arms length to compose off the rear LCD.

PR Nottingham said...

Being responsible in what you do is really a must. We should always take in consideration the appropriate work etiquette for us to avoid committing mistakes.

Andre Friedmann said...

"Trust me, I'm a professional photographer" is a common strategy of the trust fund set, determined to hide their inherited wealth from friends and neighbors.

Robert Daniel Ullmann said...

This kind of stuff has been all over Craig's List for as long as I have been looking at it.
For that matter, as long as I have been shooting (30+ years) this has been a problem - shooting for credit line, shooting the first one free and we promise we'll hire you, the come-on of "your work will be in print so you'll have more credibility", vanity galleries, etc.
Anyone willing to work for free gets paid what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I've read it in magazines, websites and seen it on TV shows, Brides frequently hear they can cut costs on their weddings by using this same tactic; place an ad on Craigs List looking for someone to photograph their wedding for free, tell them they'll build their portfolio and get tons of referrals from your wedding age friends. Until enough people have a horrible experience with the free Craigs List photogs that it becomes a joke ("Oh yeah, and you could get a free photog off Craigs List! Ha ha ha."), small budget brides and cost-cutting, risk-taking ad agencies and business people will continue this nonsense.

Photographer said...

Sometime the best medicine is to let them have the problem they ask for. Penny wise, dollar scentless.

Neil Jhonson said...

US Open Advances Rounds as Kim Clijsters to take on Petra Kvitova,Andy Murray will face Dustin Brown.Only williams sister in US Open 2010, Venus Williams wiil be facing Mandy Minella whereas John Isner will face heat from Marco Chiudinelli.Rafael Nadal will take on Denis Istomin.

Earlier in US Open Andy Roddick makes early exit.Roger Federer advances to 3rd round beating Andreas Beck,also Maria Sharapova beats Iveta Benesova in straight sets.Find out more updates on US Open 2010

Anonymous said...

Personal PR Tip: Be Humble! Always. People would build bridges for those who show respect & burn them for those who don’t.

Blake Harvey, Founder. The Lawrence Blake Group

He is saying build bridges? Expect with the photographer was that? He needs to fine a better class of loser to hang with and so do we for that matter, boycott him and his clients ....

Anonymous said...

If a Rebel and a kit lens is good enough for Andre Agassi...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMHH_AGCv-4

Dave Prill Photography said...

I like this Ad better:

"Seattle Based Photography Company is seeking a Public Relations Company for a small PR marketing campaign for a well known professional photographer. Great way to add some PR marketing skills to your portfolio, while working with a great photographer.

Although there isn’t financial compensation for this project, full credit is given as well as opportunity for future work with our Photography Company. We will work to create a great credit package for the right Public Relations Company!

Please email us for details ASAP, as this project would be taking place with-in the next few days.

Thank you"

Pete Juratovic said...

Why is it that everyone thinks artsy jobs like photography can just be given away for free? As a local DC based photographer I get asked all the time to do photos for free. Sometimes I accept, but I would never ask anyone to come shoot a formal event for free?

Anonymous said...

My email response went like this:

"Hello, I graduate from high school next spring. My mom just bought me a Canon 40D with kit lens. I am taking really great pictures of my cat with this camera and I'm ready to go pro!

Just tell me where and when (I'll borrow the subway fare from my mom)

Regards,
John
(pro photographer)"

Photographer said...

What was the response? "Your over qualified son".

Newer Post Older Post